Feder Observatory

A Blog for Minnesota State University Moorhead's Paul P. Feder Observatory

Archive for November, 2013

Observing Log 11/12/2013 0

Posted on November 13, 2013 by Matt

It was an…interesting…evening.

It started out well enough with taking calibration images (floodlight flats with diffuser) in B, V, and R along with darks and biases.

The only hangup was that a windows process called svchost kept taking up 100% of the CPU time. It launched every time Windows tried to update. Killing the process fixed the problem.

Opening the dome and initial pointing went fine too. Then, like the night before, MaxIm DL hung. I ended up putting the telescope back at zenith and rebooting the system.

Temperature was 27F and focus set to 2800.

After that was another brief, trouble-free interlude of data taking–this time BVR images of the standard field SA95.

Then I tried slewing to EY UMa; the telescope decided the shortest route would be to rotate the telescope towards the ground…so the scope stopped moving when it hit its limits. I tried a few times to push the telescope back up (which was fine, it moved) and re-slew. Every time it tried to slew through the ground. Eventually I pushed it up to (roughly) zenith and tried slewing from there but by that point the telescope was completely confused as to what its position was. So, back up to zenith by hand, shut down TCS and restart it (fortunately the dome was fine, so before shutting down I could send it home).

After the restart slewing was fine, though the initial pointing was a little challenging because the finder was no longer well-aligned with the telescope. That has been fixed (and the reticle is working).

The rest of the night was pretty uneventful–observed EY UMa in BVR through to dusk.

As the sun rose it became apparent that it had gotten partly cloudy overnight; that was also apparent from the change in flux of one of the comparison stars used for EY UMa.

PS If you notice a lemon-y fresh sent in the control room that is because I cleaned the counters.

Observing log 11/11/2013 0

Posted on November 12, 2013 by Matt

This is the first frigid night of the year: forecast low is 5F. Focus was set to 2775 with FWHM around 6 pixels (though it varied quite a bit).

First, some bad news:

+ the finder scope eyepiece barely stays in and the threads seem stripped. I might have done that last time I was out–bumped it and it fell out. For now it is still in the telescope.
+ The reticle batteries are dead and there aren’t replacements out here. I’ll fix that on Nov 12. For some reason taking the batteries out and putting them back in made the reticle work again. Will still bring out more replacement batteries.

Better news:

+ You can position the telescope without any of that. Detailed instructions will be written up, but basically: take a deep image (say 60 sec), use astrometry.net to do an astrometric fit (can now be done from within AstroImageJ), then use the center of the field it finds as the telescope position.

MaxIm DL hung around 11:30PM CST…no idea why. Restarting MaxIm DL solved the problem.

Targets tonight:

+ UV20598
+ EY UMa
+ standard field SA95

All images were taken in the R band.

And, a bonus…video of a twinkling star from focusing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fj30-tzKpqg

↑ Top